The Terrorist Next Door

Humberto Fontova

The plan called for blowing up the Statue of Liberty, Macy's, Grand Central Station, the Humble Oil refinery in Linden, N.J., and several Manhattan subway stations. The FBI found manuals with diagrams showing the correct placement of incendiaries for "maximum destruction" to oil tanks, trains and subway stations. The manuals also cautioned against "attaching detonators to incendiary bombs while on your person."

The terrorists hid 500 kilos of TNT in a Manhattan jewelry shop for the deed, and the explosions were timed for rush hour.

The FBI cracked the terrorist plot and closed in on the culprits. One was named Roberto Santiesteban and he was nabbed while walking down Riverside Drive. As the agents closed in, Santiesteban saw them and – beep-beep! – took off like the Roadrunner. I mean he turned on the afterburners. He was sprinting down the sidewalk and hurdling hedges like a true Olympian. And as he ran, Santiesteban was jamming paper in his mouth and chewing furiously.

But six FBI agents were after him, all fleet of foot themselves. Their hats (mandatory back then) immediately flew off when they sprung to the chase. Their patent leather shoes slapped the concrete and their ties flapped furiously over their shoulders as they leaped and galloped in hot pursuit.

Finally they closed the ring and "triangulated" the suspect. They stood there panting and for a few seconds they glared at each other. Finally an agent pounced.

Santiesteban dodged him like Jackie Chan dodging a Ninja. Another FBI man quickly dove in, got hold, but the slippery rascal spun and broke his tackle like Jim Brown in his glory days. Roberto dodged and weaved frantically. Gale Sayers and Tommy Dorset were spastics compared to this guy. That Tasmanian devil on the Bugs Bunny cartoons comes to mind.

Finally the FBI guys gang-swarmed the little speedster. Santiesteban fell, raging and cursing, flailing his arms and jabbing his elbows like a maniac. They grabbed his arm and bent it behind his back just as he was reaching for his pistol.

While this group got their man (and a vigorous workout), another group had the much easier task of arresting a couple named Jose and Elsa Gomez as they left their apartment on West 71st Street. These two gave in without a struggle.

The FBI speculated that as many as 30 others might have been in on the plot, but these were the head honchos. The date was Oct. 13, 1962. Had those detonators gone off, 9/11 might be remembered as the SECOND deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

Santiesteban and the Gomezes belonged to the Castro-Cuban Mission to the U.N. The plan for 500 kilos of TNT to kill thousands of New Yorkers was hatched by Helluva Guy (Castro). Fortunately, we had a crackerjack FBI back then, J. Edgar Hoover's outfit, employing such as the "G-man" Gordon Liddy.

Do I hear Pinks sniveling out there? ... Yes, I do!

"Dream on, you crackpot Cuban exiles!" They snivel. "When will you insufferable people abandon your vain hope of reclaiming your mansions and sugar mills! These outrageous lies and slanders wont help!"

Dream on yourselves, Pinks


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